State of the Region: The Atlantic South

While everyone and their mothers have been doing State of the Region articles, I’ve been doing Pool C articles, and that really bums me out. Not because that I don’t like Pool C articles, because I love those things, but more because the ASouth deserves better in terms of coverage. I do my best to cover my best teams and the fact of the matter is that I don’t have many. So, I’m here on a Friday night to give the Atlantic South the coverage it deserves. That means team-by-team, singles rankings, and doubles rankings analysis for my favorite and home region.  The teams I’ll be covering are Emory, Hopkins, CMU, Mary Washington, and Swarthmore, as RegASouth basically has all the rest. I’ll obviously go through the whole singles and doubles rankings but that’s really a given.  

By the way, if you didn;t know, D3West aka D3TG is doing a blogger reveal via an AVZ podcast this coming Tuesday. Get pumped, listen to the podcast, and find out who another blogger is on a random day of the week. I couldn’t think of anything better.  

Side note aside, let’s go through a quick team by team breakdown of my region and then get into the real meaty stuff, which is absolutely destroying the regional rankings. Actually, it doesn’t look like the ASouth is all that bad at the moment, so it might not be as much of a bloodbath as we expect it to be.

Emory, #1 in the ASouth, #2 Nationally

Emory continues its reign as the #1 team in the ASouth for as long as I can remember, even when CMU beat them in the UAA Tournament that one year. Emory’s year can really be defined by one very impressive start and then a fairly impressive rest of the season. They obviously beat Trinity TX, CMU, and then Chicago at Indoors, giving them another Indoors title to start off the year. They did so in the finals behind a doubles sweep not many saw coming as they were down in doubles to Trinity that same tournament. Emory showed why they step up in the big moments and I expect the same when we get to the UAA and NCAA Tournaments.  The rest of the year, Emory has really one blemish on the schedule and that’s a loss to Middlebury down in Texas.  They’ve beaten CMS, Amherst, and Hopkins along the way and have basically proven to us that they are within the top 3 teams in the nation for sure.  Last year is sure to be on their minds when the Tournament comes around, so we shall see what happens. Despite not being the #1 team the country, Emory can’t complain with where they are at this moment. Let’s all be happy.

CMU, #2 in the ASouth, #7 Nationally

The numbers look great for CMU, but secretly, the team may be worried about getting into NCAAs despite the #7 ranking.  CMU has basically done everything right this season, albeit in a very nerve-wracking fashion.  They’ve beaten the following teams by the score of 5-4 – Case Western, Kenyon, Mary Washington, and Johns Hopkins. Those are their best wins this year. Also, they’ve lost to Emory, CMS and Wash U, with the Wash U and Emory matches going to 5-4 as well.  Fact of the matter is you can’t really complain about the CMU season, except it does leave me just wanting a little bit more.  Up and coming is a UAA Tournament that looms very large in determining whether CMU makes the Tournament or not.  This will basically define CMU’s season given the team’s perennial top 10 ranking.

Mary Washington, #3 in ASouth, #17 Nationally

Mary Washington has broken into the Top 20 this year by really no strength of their own, but they have basically held the course by beating teams that they need to beat.  This continues to be the narrative with Coach Helbing at the helm, which should be recognized considering UMW is not necessarily a recruiting giant when compared against other ASouth teams. UMW has taken out teams such as NCW, CNU, Stevens, TCNJ, and most importantly, Bates. However, the team has come across some issues as of late, as Brandon Griffin presumably quit the team due to some disagreements with the program. I won’t comment on the background behind that, but I will mention this is the second year in a row that the #1 player on the team has quit mid-season. One can only hope that these are flukes as UMW really needs all the lineup contributors it can get. The benefit of the doubt should lie with a coach who has kept this program relevant throughout his career.  While UMW has the ranking in hand, I do not expect them to make any noise in the NCAA Tournament.

Johns Hopkins, #5 in ASouth, #21 Nationally

The most under-ranked team other than UC Santa Cruz in the ITA Rankings, Hopkins has hurt itself with a weak schedule as well as a close loss that really could have gone the opposite way..Their season has been marred by the loss of Michael “MVP” Buxbaum, who obviously has had a lasting impact on the Hopkins tennis program, but the fight pushes forward.  This team has adopted the #AllInForMike hashtag, and as some of my colleagues claimed, “it gives them something to play for, at least.”  Hopkins is known to be a talented team and they have basically proven that again this year.  Their loss to Emory post-Buxbaum injury was a 6-3 challenge that saw the Jays reach a level I did not expect them to after such a devastating loss.  They continued that momentum with an 8-1 thrashing of Christopher Newport, showing why the Jays are probably the third best team in my region.

Swarthmore, #7 in ASouth, #27 Nationally

While I don’t agree with Swarthmore’s ITA Ranking, I can’t say that I’m not pleased that they jumped back into the top 30. Swarthmore’s season started with 8 losses to ranked teams in a row, with probably 3-4 of them being “winnable” based on predictions early in the year. Clearly, this team was not as prepared for the season as we thought they were and this has been reflected in the results.  Swarthmore has been better as of late, as they were able to take out a Griffin-less UMW team in the past couple weekends.  Their only remaining big match comes against Hopkins in the Centennial Conference, where they are looking at a Buxbaum-less team to hopefully beat on their way to the NCAA Tournament.  I can’t say I’m rooting for the Garnet given their season, but they will give Hopkins a fight.  This season has so far been a disappointment for the Garnet but they still have a chance to turn it around.

Others, Sewanee & W&L

These two teams technically do not fall under my writing, but I will give my quick thoughts. These teams must have gotten a boost from D3RegAS covering them because both have some big wins on the year to get them back into some solid ITA position. Sewanee reaching the top 20 is something that I thought I’d see last year or two years ago, but has finally happened now, when I least expected it to happen. Good for the Tigers, who always seem to be a classy team. The Generals of W&L have turned their program around after declining the past few seasons.W&L brings a gritty and oftentimes in your face attitude that is encouraged by their team leader Jordan Krasner.  Again, this is RegAS territory but both of these teams should be proud of their successful seasons so far.

ASouth Singles Rankings

Of course, there wouldn’t be a SOTR without the obvious analysis of singles and doubles rankings, which can be found here.

http://www.itatennis.com/ResultsAndRankings/Rankings/Oracle_ITA_Division_III_Men_s_Collegiate_Tennis_Rankings/Oracle_ITA_Division_III_Men_s_Atlantic_South_Regional_Rankings_-_April_13.htm

It’s important to remember that only 7 teams from each region are now guaranteed a spot, with the last spot in each region being given up to a pool of at-large bids that encompass all four regions. D3Central has stated that the region most likely to give up these spots is the ASouth and I can’t say I disagree.

The first four singles spots are occupied by Aman Manji, Daniel Levine, Jonathan Jemison, and Michael Rozenvasser.  All four of these guys are basically guaranteed nationals at this point, as Emory and CMU only have the UAA Tournament left and will at best play each other in the same region.  Rozenvasser, despite not playing for a decent set of matches, has good wins over Griffin (UMW), Buxbaum (Hopkins), Murphy (Wilkes), and Reed (CNU) to make sure that he will continue to be above  them rest of the year.  The rest of the three really aren’t up for debate.  They will make the tournament and deserve to as these are some of the biggest names nationally in the ASouth. The rest of the field is where there is a little more debate, but the region is so thin on singles players it’s hard to argue anyone else.  Let’s get to some quick resumes.

Avery Schober (Sewanee) – Within the region, Schober has beaten Krasner (#7), Fallati (#11) and Brokakis when he was playing above Sikh of NCW.  He also has beaten Lipscomb (Redlands) out of region.  However, he does have a recent loss to Marti Vertiz (Millsaps, #25) as well as Brandon Griffin who no longer is listed on the rankings. The wins over Krasner and Fallati keep Schober in the top 5, but as you can see the regional rankings are going to be weak from here on out.

Sebastian Sikh (NCW) – Sebastian Sikh started off at #2 for NCW but has come on really strong as of late. He has a big win against Reed of CNU (#8) as well as a win over Methodist #1 RJ Clement (#15) who has an indirect over Murphy of Wilkes (#9).  Sikh does have a direct loss to Murphy but basically has a flawless resume after that.  Sikh deserves to be in despite a lack of regional play due to his win over Reed.  One win gets you in in the ASouth.

Jordan Krasner (W&L) – Here’s where we get a little iffy but still seem okay. Griffin has wins against two important people here and they are Reed of CNU (#8) and Fallati of Swarthmore (#11).  He has losses, on the other hand, to Buxbaum (#10, injured), and Griffin (used to be #5, now quit).  Basically, Krasner can say that he has the direct wins over Reed and Fallati and we’re pretty much all done with that.  I don’t agree with that fact that Buxbaum was somehow ranked #10, but that is obviously a moot point at this stage in the game.  Krasner is currently hanging on by a thread for the #7 spot.  Krasner has a shot to guarantee his spot with a win over Manji today/tomorrow, but that’s probably not going to happen.  Krasner has to hope Reed does nothing to pass him rest of the year.

David Reed (CNU) – Reed basically has one win this year over Mark Fallati of Swarthmore. He has losses to Krasner, Sikh, Rozenvasser, and even Jeremy Dubin, who could make a run at the last spot if the rest of his season goes well.  Reed needs to pick up a big win at some point rest of the year, but his only shot is Miles of UMW who is ranked below him.  It doesn’t look like Reed has any shot of moving up.

Courtney Murphy (Wilkes) – Murphy of Wilkes rode a strong ITA Tournament to make the rankings, where he beat Fallati of Swarthmore and Levine of CMU, which is basically his call to fame.  Since then, he has a big win against Sebastian Sikh of NCW and a crippling loss against Methodist #1 RJ Clement, which is giving the committee the legs to call his fall a total fluke.  Murphy plays a weak schedule, but I honestly think he has the wins in both the fall and spring to justify a spot in the top 8. He has a win over Levine, the #2 player in the region, for gods sake. Not only that, he has directly beaten the #6 player in the region. Come on.

Mark Fallati (Swarthmore) – Fallati of Swarthmore has had a nightmarish year by my standards, which sometimes are a bit too high.  With losses to Rozenvasser, Reed, Krasner, and Schober, there’s really no way to argue that Fallati should be in the top 10 at this point in the year.  He only has Dubin left on his schedule.  Fallati will probably miss the tournament at the end of the year, but he can’t say he didn’t have his chances.

Jeremy Dubin (Hopkins) – Dubin has virtually played like 2 matches this year, but is making a case that he should be in the top 7 by the end of the year.  He’s beaten Rozenvasser (#4), Reed (#8), and only has a loss to Fallati (#11) all the way back in ITAs that blemishes his resume.  If we are to assume he didn’t pick up any of Buxbaum’s losses, Dubin should be higher.

If I were to re-do the rankings, they would be as follows:

Aman Manji

Daniel Levine

Jonathan Jemison

Michael Rozenvasser

Avery Schober

Jeremy Dubin

Jordan Krasner

Courtney Murphy

Sebastian Sikh

David Reed

Mark Fallati

ASouth Doubles Rankings

You can find the doubles rankings at the above link, and I have no idea what they are, so let’s see if I agree with them.  It is again important to remember that only three teams will get guaranteed a spot, with the fourth being left to an at-large bid that pools across all regions.  

Rubinstein/Spaulding (Emory) – The #1 ranked team in the region is really benefitting from a ton of out of region wins, including the CMS #1, Amherst #1, Trinity TX #1, Chicago #1, as well as an in-region win over Gray/Becker (Sewanee, #11 in region).  They do have direct losses to Levine/Arora (#4 in region) as well as Dubin/Cartledge (soon to be ranked) that could push them down.  This seems like a weak #1 seed in the region to me so let’s see what everyone else is doing.

Cerny/Reed (CNU) – This CNU team has basically done the opposite of the Emory duo and beaten everyone within region.  They’ve beaten Swarthmore, W&L, UMW, NCW, and Salisbury.  However, they do have losses to Levine/Arora (CMU, #4 in region) and now Dubin/Cartledge (soon to be ranked). I think the resume shows that this team has the resume to make the tournament as they’ve basically beaten everyone within region.  The next team is where it gets very interesting.

Byrd/Fleming (UMW) – Wins over NCW #1, Sewanee #1, CMU #1, and Swarthmore #1, keeping them at the #3 spot just ahead of CMU.  However, with losses against Pomona, Redlands, CLU, and CNU, this team is living on the edge when it comes to a potential at-large bid.  I think if Levine/Arora win the match against Emory in the UAA Tournament if they get there, this could be trouble for the UMW duo.  

Levine/Arora (CMU) – Levine and Arora have a strange resume and are really hurting themselves late season.  They have wins against Swarthmore, Reed/Cerny (#2), and Rubinstein/Spaulding (#1), but they also have recent losses. They recently lost against the UMW duo of Byrd/Fleming (#3) to push them down a notch.  Levine/Arora have some good out of region wins, but they probably need to beat Rubinstein/Spaulding in the UAA Tournament to have a real shot at making the tournament.  Losses to Wash U, Case, CMS, and Kenyon will hurt this team when it comes to the at-large bid.

Dubin/Cartledge (Hopkins) – This is an interesting argument here as Dubin/Cartledge have basically been thrust into the starting lineup due to the Buxbaum injury.  They’ve recently beaten the #1 AND #2 teams in the region. As mentioned in some comments in today’s POTW, this team is a team that played some matches early year, so it looks like they will hit the minimum of 10 matches for a team to be eligible for the tournament.  They have the rest of the Hopkins schedule which means another match aginst Fallati/Powell of Swarthmore, which could give them another important in region win.  If they win that, this team will have a major case for the last spot in the rankings and potentially a nationally qualifying team.  Picking up that win against Emory was big time and should go a long way.  

If I were to re-do the rankings, I would probably keep them the same. However, as just mentioned, Dubin/Cartledge have a major chance of winning and getting into the top 4, especially if one of the UMW or CMU team falls to a regional opponent in their conference tournament. Dubin/Cartledge are big fans of the #1 and #2 teams in the region now as these are the projected opponents for those two teams.  Staying undefeated rest of the year and getting a loss from one of those lower teams could mean national dancing for the Hopkins duo.

FIN

And, we’re finally done! I’m still on California time from this past weekend partying with Kylie and Kanye and mediocre Lady Gaga sets, so that means the west coast fans get to see this article first.  Or, the late studying CMU and Hopkins kids that are looking for a break.  Or, maybe Rafe Mosetick is still studying for finals these days. I remember the days.  Hope you all enjoyed the breakdown. ASouth, OUT.

  2 comments for “State of the Region: The Atlantic South

  1. Broken Wing
    April 18, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Very PC update for UMW for an otherwise excellent write up.

  2. Avid Reader
    April 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Great article! It seems like Hopkins is peaking at the right time (again), while the other teams have hit a lull in their seasons.

    What do you think of Hopkins and Swat scheduling each other the last weekend of the regular season knowing they will likely play for the Centennial conference final the following weekend?

Comments are closed.